My parents recently visited for three weeks. And they stayed at my house the entire time!
In their defense, it was only supposed to be two weeks. This is still a stretch for me, considering how small my house is and how important my downtime in my own space is for me. But my parents were coming all the way from New Zealand — not just to visit me but to also spend some time with Eric, my boyfriend who they had only met once before — so I was very happy to make it work. I just don’t see them that often anymore.
I’m in the age range where parents start dying. Recently, several of my clients have lost parents. The clients and friends whose parents are still alive are starting to see age-related declines and some people I know have taken on extensive care-giving roles. I’m no stranger to loss, so even as I spoke of this extended visit with trepidation to many of my friends and clients, I also knew that I was lucky that my parents, both in their early 70s, were alive and well.
Well, everyone not only survived the visit but enjoyed it! There were many good times. It was challenging in some respects for me but rewarding in so many more respects. My parents are not only still alive, but they are incredibly youthful, energetic, healthy and happy. No health issues. And they are still crazy about each other!
I coach people on how to be stronger and healthier. From a professional capacity, I can really appreciate how my parents’ embrace of an alternative lifestyle 45 years ago led to them to living the incredibly functional and mobile lives they enjoy now, and probably for many years to come. From a personal capacity, well, let’s just say my childhood was . . . unusual. I personally wouldn’t do it the way they did it, but I know that I’m healthier overall because of it.
Ultimately, my parents’ success in staying healthy has truly come from the many years of consistency in living with these choices, day in and day out, year in and year out, to name but a few:
1. No alcohol
2. Avoid sugar
3. Avoid processed foods
4. Tons of fruit and vegetables
5. A vegetarian diet (it’s worked for them, although I personally am a big believer in seafood and eggs as sources of protein—I was raised vegetarian and chose to incorporate those into my diet as a young adult.)
6. Daily meditation
7. Daily exercise (in their case, yoga supplemented by other types of movement)
In addition, they’ve worked very hard over the years to improve their mental and spiritual selves. They are also fiercely committed to each other. They’ve made it through some rough times, and are still very happily married 44 years later.
As a daughter with a lifetime of experience in witnessing my parents’ lifestyle, and a health and fitness professional with fifteen years of experience, I can honestly say they deserve a lot of credit for how they’ve lived their lives. I mean, who dances on the bow of a boat at their age? My parents, that’s who!
In the words of my friend Kelli, immortalized on Facebook forever, “Your parents are cool.”
Pritam Potts, owner of Advanced Athlete LLC, is a NSCA-certified trainer and strength coach with 12-plus years of experience working with athletes and clients of all ages. Her specialty is in functional strength applications, developing core and overall strength and coordination specifically for the purpose of enhancing the body’s ability to function optimally and safely in athletic movement. You can contact her online at www.facebook.com/mrsathlete and www.twitter.com/mrsathlete.